When Joe Biden first launched his presidential bid, inquiries about his son Hunter were so taboo that they met with the full fury of the campaign.
“Ask the right question!” Biden snapped a reporter at the beginning of the campaign asking about Hunter Biden’s business interests in Ukraine.
Now it is the president’s son who reveals his own story – and opens up to more control in the process – just as his father’s presidency arrives.
Hunter Biden’s new memoir, “Beautiful Things,” slated for April 6th, describes his struggles with addiction. It comes out after a bloody presidential campaign that left Hunter at the center of attacks by conservatives, including former President Donald Trump himself in the first presidential debate.
It also comes when Hunter Biden is under investigation at the federal level over his tax affairs. And although he is now assuming a higher public profile in public, the Biden family said on Thursday that they stand by his decision to write the book.
“The shared feeling is that telling this story takes a lot of strength and courage,” said a close ally of Biden. “And right now when [the American public’s] Substance use increased during the coronavirus outbreak. When so many families are feeling the pain of the opioid epidemic, it is especially meaningful and could help others find the support they need. “
It was only this Wednesday that Biden mentioned the rise in addiction during the pandemic to lawmakers as a reason to quickly switch to a massive aid package for Covid-19.
Although a story about overcoming addiction may be appropriate for the age of Covid, Hunter Biden searched the bookstore long before the pandemic. Two people with knowledge of what happened say he tried for years to write a memoir.
Still, It was a well-kept secret. When he started buying the book, his agents took extensive steps to prevent news from being published. One publisher early on on the project declined to comment on behind-the-scenes book buying, citing a nondisclosure agreement. A representative from Simon & Schuster said the publisher signed the deal with Hunter Biden in fall 2019. The Associated Press first reported messages the memoir.
“We admire our son Hunter’s strength and courage to speak openly about his addiction so that others can see each other and find hope on his journey,” said Joe and Jill Biden in a statement Thursday.
When the book was announced on Thursday There were a few blurbs on the A-list, including one from famous horror and science fiction writer Stephen King, who described it as “harrowing” and “obsessively readable.”
“Hunter Biden proves yet again that anyone – even the son of a President of the United States – can ride the pink horse down Nightmare Alley,” King wrote. “There are many memoirs on the Three Rs (rum, ruin, and redemption), but there are sections in this one that have haunting clarity.”
Sources close to the White House insist the memoir will not act as a distraction as the president makes every effort to push forward a $ 1.9 trillion Covid aid package. They argue that this gives Hunter Biden the opportunity to tell his own story after being caricatured by conservatives.
Much of this conservative characterization has centered on Hunter Biden’s business relationships in Ukraine and China. The president’s son was also known for his volatile, high-flying lifestyle, which provided tabloid fodder and grist to his father’s political opponents.
Indeed, Hunter Biden’s time on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings became a fixation for Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, both of whom were trying to get the country’s political figures to smear the Biden.
Revelations of this activity landed Trump with his first impeachment. And when Biden was pressured into Jäger’s work in Ukraine during the campaign, he hit a reporter for asking about it and said the focus should instead be on Trump’s behavior when he called a foreign leader.
But the attacks on Hunter Biden didn’t stop. Throughout the campaign, Republicans repeatedly accused him of profiting from his father’s name. The phrase “Where’s Hunter?” became a rally on the right, a question Trump would shout in front of the crowd even at campaign events.
The Biden Campaign adopted a strategy to vigorously push back media issues related to Hunter Biden. She argued that this was a distraction from Trump’s behavior and compared the scenario to the media’s fixation on Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016.
“Are you really blind to what you did wrong in 2016, or are you deliberately continuing guidelines that skew reality through controversy and clicks?” Then-Assistant Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield wrote to Dean Baquet, the top editor of the New York Times.
When Trump followed up on Hunter Biden during the presidential debates, Biden replied that his son, like many Americans, battled addiction. The comment was recognized by proponents of addiction support.
The upcoming memoir is portrayed as a way to fuel those conversations about addiction. However, it could also lead Hunter Biden to re-use his last name for profit.
That criticism was directed against Ivanka Trump when she published Women Who Work in 2017, months after Trump took office and began working for him as a White House advisor. She said at the time that she would donate the unpaid portion of her advance payment and any royalties to charity. It’s unclear what Hunter Biden plans to do with his earnings.
Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, was posting “Triggered” and “Liberal Privilege” while his father was in the White House. The Republican National Committee bought copies of both books to give to donors and spent more than $ 100,000 on copies of Triggered.
In 2007, Jenna Bush Hager published Ana’s Story, a non-fiction book about a single mother she met during an internship at Unicef in Panama, during the second term of President George W. Bush. She later founded an influential book club, Read With Jenna.
And two of President Ronald Reagan’s children have published books during his tenure: Patti Davis, who wrote a novel, and Michael Reagan, who published a memoir called “On the Outside Looking In.”
Alex Thompson and Ben Schreckinger contributed to this article.